Carol Neiger

Christina’s Garden
oil on canvas
48 x 36 in.

Dear Earth,

When so much in our lives seem out of control our connection to our gardens offers both beauty and respite. Gardens have long been associated with women and their well-being. We seek a connection to the earth and what we can create from it. The garden also carries a personal connection for me with my grandmother. My grandmother, who immigrated to the United States from Russia after her husband was killed in a pogrom, found peace and a sense of control in a family vegetable garden she created and tended.

Gardens are places of healing, refuge, and peace of mind. These works are portraits of my friends and their gardens. Christina planned and planted her garden shortly during a long illness that left her too weak to stand or walk for many months. Each morning her husband would carry her into this garden sanctuary to rest and reflect. She healed as she watched her garden grow.

We all need a haven, an island of space separate from life filled with work, schedules, and deadlines. Jayne found her work and life spinning out of control—so she built a haven. An island of space surrounded with constantly changing color and textures. I symbolize the chaos and complexity of life with intricate textures found when you look very closely. Just as the human experience is about constructing meaning from randomness, I begin with random pattern and color. Somehow, they hold together—as do our lives when we connect with our gardens.

I hold a seed in my hand, and I imagine the life that will emerge from it. Holding a seed and burying it in the soil, then checking with anticipation as the first glimpse of green emerges from the rich earth reminds us of the power within each of us to make, create, build and mold—and how, even with that power, we have to accept the imperfection and accidents that happen through nature and learn to embrace it.

My seed monoprints combine random texture with control. Just as we bury a seed in the soil and check with anticipation how the elements of seed, sun, water and environmental elements conflate, I love the process of creating these prints as I pour paint, use gravity and allow for the controlled as well as the accidental, incidental, and unexpected nature of the monoprint to be revealed.

© Carol Neiger